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Sports Injury Guide: The Common Types of Sports Injuries

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Updated May 27, 2006

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Part 1 of 10 - What Are Sports Injuries?

Sports Injuries Are Increasing

In recent years, increasing numbers of people of all ages have been heeding their health professionals' advice to get active for all of the health benefits exercise has to offer. But for some people — particularly those who overdo or who don't properly train or warm up — these benefits can come at a price: sports injuries.

Fortunately, most sports injuries can be treated effectively, and most people who suffer injuries can return to a satisfying level of physical activity after an injury. Even better, many sports injuries can be prevented if people take the proper precautions.

What Are Sports Injuries?

The term sports injury, in the broadest sense, refers to the kinds of injuries that most commonly occur during sports or exercise. Some sports injuries result from accidents; others are due to:

  • poor training practices
  • improper equipment
  • lack of conditioning
  • insufficient warmup and stretching

Although virtually any part of your body can be injured during sports or exercise, the term is usually reserved for injuries that involve the musculoskeletal system, which includes the muscles, bones, and associated tissues like cartilage. Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries are relatively rare during sports or exercise.

Common Types of Sports Injuries

  • muscle sprains and strains
  • tears of the ligaments that hold joints together
  • tears of the tendons that support joints and allow them to move
  • dislocated joints
  • fractured bones, including vertebrae

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